A Massachusetts Legislature committee voted to move forward with a bill to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags. The state-wide proposition is likely to reach a final vote by MA lawmakers within the next few weeks.
The Massachusetts Plastic Bag Reduction Act had many stores already reducing or eliminating plastic bags. The bill prohibited stores exceeding 4,000 square feet from distributing plastic bags, except for those made with compostable plastic. Additionally, paper bags would have to be made of recycled material. Almost twenty years ago, the town of Nantucket was among the first to entirely ban the plastic bag.
Sponsors for the bill argue the environmental consequences for both marine life and preserving landscapes. There exists concern in the clogging of landfills and sewage systems as well. Massachusetts uses approximately one and a half billion plastic bags annually, only one percent of which are actually recycled. The cost of recycling a ton of plastic bags is around $4,000.
If the bill passes, Massachusetts would become the second state, behind Hawaii, to constitute a state-wide ban of plastic bags.